why I travel

Why I travel?


It’s quite simple, really. I travel because I have to. But here’s what got me going… and has kept me going for 150 days abroad!

A few months ago I lost my job and my roommate moved out, all in 1 day. If that isn’t a push to move out and move on, I don’t know what is. I think it’s divine.

Less than 24 hours later I was oddly at peace with what I would do next. I began to sell everything I had (which, if we’re being honest, wasn’t much), and adamantly abandoned every American Dream that I had been told was best for me. I wouldn’t look for a secure job with benefits, or set up a retirement fund, settle down or save anything. Not just yet, at least.

Instead, I simplified my life into 6 small boxes (and a bike), left my cell phone at home, said goodbye to everyone I knew, everything that was familiar, and decided to venture across the Atlantic to places I knew nothing about.

I sold my car, took what little money that got me, and made 1 courageous decision to buy a one-way ticket to St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Call me naive, crazy, whatever you like… I’ve heard it all.

But here’s the truth. After 150 days, 15 cities, 8 countries, and absolutely 0 days of regret later, I have never been happier! 

While the journey isn’t entirely over, it is coming to an end. Last week I bought my return ticket to Detroit, MI. I’ve got less than 2 months left and many mixed emotions that go along with it. 

Today, after 150 days abroad, I pause to look at where I’ve been and what I’ve been through. In reality, I need to write a book in order to do this well, but a paragraph will give you a glimpse for now.

I took risks–physical, mental and emotional ones–dealt with a dozen difficult situations that forced me out of my comfort zone every single day, became content with being single, realized that it’s healthy (and necessary!) to ask for help, made a million mistakes (being abroad doesn’t mean shit leaves the show), got lost, ripped off and flipped off, cried myself to sleep, laughed my ass off, climbed up collapsed sea caves, kissed the hand of Newfoundland’s last schooner builder, spent two months in silence by a small stained glass window in the back of a chapel at a Carmelite monastery in Ireland, swam with 1,000 dolphins, experienced (and survived!) my very first 6.2 magnitude earthquake, met hundreds of amazing people, and so much more.

These are just a few of the many reasons I travel. It may be the best educator I know.

Travel is answered prayer, divine orchestration, what the soul knows we need even if, and especially when, our minds may never know why. It’s trusting day after day that you are exactly where you are meant to be and despite what it may seem, it is far more internal than it could ever be external.

Travel, or pilgrimage, rather, has more to do with the orientation of organs–the navigation of the heart, the instincts of intuition, the groaning of the gut, and the sounds of the soul–than it does with location, landscape, excursions  or experiences.

Don’t get me wrong, these are all phenomenal things. Crucial things, in fact, because without them we’d never come to know our equally intense and exciting internal selves.




9 thoughts on “why I travel

  1. Chelsea, I hope to hear from you when yo get home. When you write your book I want to be one of the first to buy it!

  2. “Traveling forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” (Cesare Pavese)
    You Go Girl!!!❤️

  3. Chelsea, you continue to amaze me with your insight! My prayer will be that He will guide you to your next “place of being” & thank Him for all the wonderful gifts of reflective time, challenges met by trusting Him, opportunities for you to marvel at His great handiworks(think of the hym How great Thou Art) & above all, the people He allowed you to break bread with that will forever be carried in your heart. These are my most cherished things in life,my heart treasures. Sweet& sometimes painful memories that are ours no matter what happens. No one can steal these away. May you FILL your heart up & feel the sweet saiety that comes with that kind of wealth. Love to you, Aunt Sherry

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